NHL notes: Kesler feels optimistic

Canucks foward Ryan Kesler fights with Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg at TD Banknorth Garden...

Canucks foward Ryan Kesler fights with Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Mass., June 6, 2011. (ERIC BOLTE/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 PM ET

Vancouver Canucks forward Ryan Kesler thinks he'll be ready to play in time for the season opener.

Kesler had surgery to repair the labrum in his hip four weeks ago and was expected to be out of action for 10-12 weeks. But he is optimistic he'll be in the lineup when the Canucks open the season Oct. 6 at home to Pittsburgh.

"I'll start skating here in the next couple of weeks and hopefully be back by that first game," Kelser told Canucks TV. "I know what it takes. I know the rehab. It might even make me braver to try things I probably shouldn't be trying, but it's going to make me come back quicker and hopefully I can play in that first game."

Kesler is experienced in matters of the hip. He had the same sort of surgery in 2007 and was back playing after just 10 weeks, nearly a month sooner than expected.

In 2010-11, Kesler had 41 goals and 32 assists in 82 games. He also won the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward.

Scatchard done

Forward Dave Scatchard, who played just eight games for the St. Louis Blues last season, has called it quits due to repeated concussions.

Scatchard, 35, announced his retirement through his Twitter account Monday, saying doctors at the Mayo Clinic advised him it was unsafe to continue playing.

"Sadly after taking the weekend to absorb it, I have accepted it and am pretty upset," Scatchard tweeted. "I will miss the game a lot. I will miss my teammates and the challenge of accomplishing our goals together. Has been an amazing journey and I loved every (minute) of it."

Scatchard had 128 goals and 141 assists in 659 games over 11 NHL seasons. After starting his career with the Vancouver Canucks, he played for the New York Islanders, Boston Bruins, Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators and St. Louis.

Dozen Devils

The New Jersey Devils signed 12 players Monday, including former Los Angeles Kings defenceman Peter Harrold and Minnesota Wild forward Stephane Veilleux.

Harrold played 19 games with the Kings last season while Veilleux, who has played 438 games with Minnesota and the Tampa Bay Lightning, spent the 2010-11 season in Finland and Switzerland.

The Devils also inked goalie Maxime Clermont and forwards Matt Anderson, Bryan Haczyk, Brad Mills, Nathan Perkovich, Tim Sestito, Myles Stoesz, Joseph Whitney, Chad Wiseman and Steve Zalewski. Haczyk, Perkovich, Stoesz and Whitney signed AHL contracts.

Habs pick dealt

Montreal Canadiens' first-round draft pick Louis Leblanc was traded to the Memorial Cup-host Shawinigan Cataractes Monday.

The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada dealt the over-ager, who may never play another game in the QMJHL, for forward Cole Hawes.

Leblanc, Montreal's first pick in 2009, had 26 goals and 32 assists in 51 games with the Montreal Juniors last season. Hawes had 10 goals and six assists in 40 games with the Lewiston Maineiacs.

Belak does battle

Former Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Wade Belak will skate on the third season of CBC's "Battle of the Blades."

Belak will be joined by ex-NHLers Brad May, Bryan Berard, Boyd Devereaux, Curtis Leschyshyn, Cale Hulse and Tessa Bonhomme, a defenceman with the Canadian women's team that won gold at the Olympics in Vancouver. Bonhomme, the first female player to compete on the program, will skate with former Olympic gold medalist David Pelletier.

The third season of Battle of the Blades starts Sept. 18.


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